Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

July 2, 2013

TOM LoBIANCO: Pence finds surprises in transition to chief executive

Facebook 'Pencership' flap only the latest example.

(Continued)

The roles of critical lawmaker, with tightly scripted talks against the federal health care law and federal climate change rules in battles with the Democrat-controlled White House, and besieged executive were quickly swapped as he took the governor’s office.

From “Dani the Deer,” whose strange circumstances seemed uniquely fit to befuddle a state executive with arcane rules at a lower-profile state agency, to his intraparty battle with Statehouse Republicans to win a campaign-promised tax cut, the surprises have filled his plate as they would with any executive.

Pence declined last week to provide an off-the-cuff self-assessment, and said he would leave the prognostication to others.

“I’d leave it to others to say how we’re handling the transition,” Pence said Thursday, after taking questions on the deleted comments and other issues.

In Washington, it was often easier for Pence to stick to the issues he felt strongest handling and dodge some of the less well-defined problems that often trip up executives. He’s also had to craft his own agenda as an executive, instead of responding to others’ proposals as congressmen so often do.

Indiana residents were given a reminder of the lawmaker Pence in a piece on MSNBC that aired last week with conservative commentator S.E. Cupp. In one stretch, Cupp said Pence declined to answer questions about the Republican Party’s troubles on the national scene and instead talked about the successes of his campaign for governor.

Of course, that aired a few days before the gay marriage battle swamped state news for half a week.

Tom LoBianco covers Indiana politics for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter @tomlobianco.

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